British authorities announced on Tuesday that Facebook has breached the British law by failing to protect the user data, and failed to inform the people how Cambridge Analytica harvested their information to use in political campaigns. Now the platform faces a huge fine of £500,000, the biggest under the British Data Protection Law.
The investigation was launched by the agency to probe into Facebook’s data security practices after the leak in March that political firm Cambridge Analytica acquired data of 87 million Facebook users worldwide. The objective of investigators was to find out whether anyone involved with the campaigns for or against Brexit misused the information. They have detained several servers and other equipment holding terabytes of data.
On Wednesday midnight, ICO released its report in the UK. The outcomes will be of interest to many United States agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI and Federal Trade Commission.
A source known to the inquiries told that the SEC is scrutinizing the timing of Facebook’s disclosure of the data transfer to investors. Meanwhile, FTC is looking into whether the data transmission desecrated 2011 consent decree that directs how the platform can incorporate consumer information.
Facebook faces an inquiry from regulators and lawmakers anxious about the handling of user’s data and how a Russian operation with links to the Kremlin abused the platform.
Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has accepted that the company has failed drastically to look after its users as said by Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook. She said in a statement that “we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015. She further added that we have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, as we have with the authorities in the US and other countries. We are reviewing the report and will soon respond to the ICO”.
Before the agency makes it final decision, the company has the chance to answer to the ICO’s projected penalty. The chair of the UK parliamentary committee, Damian Collins said Facebook must provide more information about how companies like Cambridge Analytics collected user information.
He said, “Facebook users must be concerned about how the company left their data susceptible to being collected without the consent of developers working on behalf of companies just like Cambridge Analytica. The users affected by data scraping may be far more than what is being acknowledged. Facebook should now work on the internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee, and other related investigatory authorities.